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HomeNewsCougars explode for six goals in second period to trounce Seattle

Cougars explode for six goals in second period to trounce Seattle

Like a flick of a switch, the Prince George Cougars put it into overdrive, delivering the knockout blow to their opponents in the second period.

A six-goal onslaught in the middle frame paced the Cougars to an 8-1 thrashing over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Monday in front of a capacity crowd of 6,027 fans at CN Centre.

After PG built up a 2-0 edge at the end of 20 minutes, the floodgates opened in earnest to begin the second.

Carlin Dezainde swarmed to the front of the Seattle net, tucking a quick shot past goaltender Scott Ratzlaff.

Less than two minutes later, a Sam Popowich hooking infraction put PG on the power play where Riley Heidt netted his first of two, pouncing on a loose puck near the Thunderbirds’ crease.

The offensive tidal wave continued to pick up speed with four more goals in less than eight minutes courtesy of rookie Jett Lajoie, Hudson Thornton, Ondrej Becher and Heidt.

Becher’s was the most highlight-worthy of the four, as he split three Thunderbirds defenders on his way to the goal before putting Ratzlaff out of his misery. The Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect was then replaced by Spencer Michnik after allowing five goals on 23 shots.

PG has inflicted pain on its opponents in its last two home contests lighting the lamp 11 times – when asked, head coach and general manager Mark Lamb pointed to his team’s skill as part of the reason for the second-period mastery.

“We have a lot of skill. There are certain things you can never figure out why, but we can put a lot of goals up in a short amount of time and it goes right through the whole group.”

The seven-goal victory was a quick rebound of sorts for the Cougars after falling short to Kamloops 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday – outshooting the Blazers 48-26 and running into a red-hot Jesse Sanche in the process.

“It’s about playing the right way. If we play like we did in Kamloops we are going to win a bunch of hockey games. You run into a hot goaltender but teams like that have pieces that can beat you. We learned that against Kamloops – that is a piece that can beat you as they have really good goaltending and a winning organization like these guys do (Seattle) so you can never take anything for granted in hockey.” added Lamb.

Eight Cougar players had multi-point efforts against the Thunderbirds including Lajoie who tallied his first two-goal game at the WHL level while veteran blueliner Viliam Kmec notched three assists.

While players like Heidt, Thornton, Terik Parascak and Zac Funk often take a lot of the offensive headlines, Lamb noted it was good to see the depth guys get rewarded a little more for their efforts.

“These guys that are depth and fourth line like Lajoie and Kmec who do so much for us, getting stats is always nice but we talk a lot about our team game. The Fosters, Bawa’s and Lajoie’s aren’t going to get a lot of stats, but they go out and play the right way and on a night like this, they do get some stats, which is great for them.”

Borya Valis and Bauer Dumanski added singles in the first period for the Cougars.

The lone blemish in the game for PG came with 1:52 remaining in the third period as a 4-on-2 rush led by local product and Seattle forward Nico Myatovic resulted in a goal by Braeden Cootes who fired a puck under the pad of Cougars netminder Josh Ravsensbergen.

This foiled what would have been a record-setting seventh shutout – that would have been the most ever for a rookie in league history.

PG outshot Seattle 39-26 and went 2-for-3 on the power play while the Thunderbirds went 0-for-2.

The Cougars improved to 37-15-0-3 on the campaign, a point back of the Everett Silvertips for the top spot in the Western Conference, with four games in hand.

The Thunderbirds, however, dropped to 19-32-2-0, nine points back of the Spokane Chiefs for the final playoff spot in the conference.

The capacity crowd of 6,027 is tied for the most-ever for a Cougars dating back to the Connor Bedard feature night in December of 2022, where PG fell 5-1 to the Regina Pats.

Monday’s matinee also featured the second Mega 50-50 Jackpot of the season, which reached $143,350 – with half of the proceeds supporting the BC Cancer Foundation.

In addition, the Cougars dawned pink specialty jerseys, which will be auctioned off.

Both teams finish off the early week double header tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 pm from CN Centre.

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